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The Middle Report

The Middle examines the reasons why BAME middle managers are not progressing to senior executive roles within large businesses operating in the UK, and what can be done about it

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The Middle 2nd Edition is here!  

In 2021, why are businesses still failing to reach a consensus on how to shift the dial in a meaningful way for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups in the workplace? 

Since the original publication of The Middle, the key barriers which stand in the way of advancement for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic groups persist. As evidenced by the findings of the 2020 Parker Review, businesses are still using ambiguous language, lack clear strategies for pipeline initiatives, and fail to clearly endorse the business case for racial and ethnic diversity.  

Although numerous companies have committed to The Race at Work Charter, the systemic barriers which block promotion opportunities for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees have yet to be addressed.  

It’s time to talk about it 

For many, the biggest obstacle is being willing to openly discuss race within the workplace. Organisations suffer from a fear of saying the wrong thing, leading to a lack of awareness of the problem and an inability to address it. 

Download your copy of The Middle 2nd Edition now 

Strategies for Advancing BAME Talent

Commissioned by the Black British Business Awards (BBBAwards) and in partnership with EMpower, this is the only multi-method study in the UK that conducts a deep dive qualitative enquiry into the experiences of multiple critical stakeholders in the context of this subject, including HR Directors, Diversity and Inclusion Executives, Executive Sponsors, BAME Employee Network Chairs and BAME Senior Executives. 
Influential executives from 30 significant corporates and regulators reviewed how their cultures and practices influenced progression of BAME talent.

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For more information on the Middle Report, please contact us at [email protected]

Six main observations arising were that:

All stakeholders had a clear intention to improve the current position within their workplace but feel hamstrung by the discomfort of discussing race
This discomfort of discussing race in the workplace causes avoidance to a point of stifling, if not preventing, progress
Organisations have objectives to achieve better outcomes for BAME retention, but most do not have a strategy or proper resource allocation
There are few ‘captains of industry and white allies’ publicly speaking about this subject and few BAME voices in senior teams, and so, BAME issues do not feature as key agenda items
Generally, the most visible advocates of BAME talent in companies are the employee resource groups that consist largely of volunteers. Though hardworking they tend not have the executive authority or access to budget to influence strategy
What gets measured, gets done. Why are businesses not pushing for the measurement of BAME progression, if we are serious about it?

A Call to Action

We are calling on company Chairs, CEOs and HR Directors to identify practices that must be stopped to avoid exacerbating issues and reinforcing barriers for minority ethnic talent progression. There is no better time to begin speaking openly about race, which is the first step towards addressing the problem. There is no quick fix; organisations must commit to the journey in order to provide assurance to shareholders and other stakeholders that deep work is being done to drive meaningful change urgently.” 

Melanie Eusebe, BBBAwards co-founder 

We have seen many charters and pledges signed and publicised over the last year, but pledging is no longer enough. Senior leaders will need to surgically diagnose their HR data to identify practices and bad actors that produce differentiated outcomes for ethnic minority professionals when it comes to high profile work allocation, mobility opportunities, talent ranking, compensation and promotion. The Middle provides strategic recommendations for cultural and organisational change."

Sophie Chandauka, BBBAwards co-founder 

Participating Companies


Allianz Insurance plc

BAE Systems

Baker McKenzie

Bank of England



Bloomberg L.P.

BNP Paribas

BNY Mellon

British Airways

Credit Suisse


Financial Conduct Authority



J.P. Morgan



Lloyd’s of London

Lloyd’s Bank


Mitie plc

Moody’s Investors Service, Inc

National Grid

Sky UK

Nationwide Building Society

Procter & Gamble

Prudential plc


Reed Smith


Thomson Reuters

TSB Bank


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